Quebec nursing order plans to scrap current exam

Quebec nursing order plans to scrap current exam

By Jack Wilson

Local Journalism Initiative


The Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec (OIIQ), the province’s nursing order, is seeking to change its testing regiment following low pass rates in the two most recent exams. Should the plan go ahead, incoming nurses will write the same exam as their Canadian and American counterparts outside of Quebec.

Since 2015, every Canadian jurisdiction other than Quebec has employed the NCLEX-RN exam, released by the U.S-based National Council of Measurement in Education. Canadian translators create the French version of the English-language exam.

In March, just 53 per cent of Quebec nursing students passed the provincial exam on the first try. This followed a 51 per cent first-time pass rate in September 2022. In Quebec, students have three chances to pass the exam, before being disqualified from writing. These challenges have come as nurse shortages impede Quebec hospitals’ ability to meet patient need.

In response to the low success rates, the OIIQ is allowing students who failed their third exam in March or September to retake the exam in September 2023.

On May 29, order president Luc Matthieu penned an open letter in La Presse, making his case to scrap the current program in favour of the NCLEX-RN exam. “A large pool of international experts, composed of thousands of nurses from care settings and educational institutions, worked on its development,” Matthieu wrote. “Our experts from the OIIQ will join that pool.”

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